Tag Archives: maintenance

How Long Does Tennis Court Crack Filler Last?

Question: How long does tennis court crack filler last?

Answer: Cracking of asphalt and concrete pavement surfaces is a common problem. Even if the asphalt or concrete is properly built, there are still variables beyond the control of the contractor and crack filler producer.

There are different reasons for pavement cracking, but a majority of the cracks on concrete and asphalt courts are structural. This means that the cracks go completely through the pavement layers, into the base of the tennis court.

Acrylic tennis court crack fillers are designed to fill and seal off the surface of the crack. This is designed to minimize water and moisture flowing into the crack and stone base of the court, and slow down degradation of the court through further cracking. The main problem is that once a structural crack opens, there are two separated slabs of pavement constantly moving back and forth. This expansion and contraction happens daily, depending on temperatures, moisture, and other environmental conditions. That being said, cracks that have been filled may open within days, weeks, months, or years of application.

Pourable Tennis Court Crack Filler
Pourable Tennis Court Crack Filler

Even though we offer some elastomeric acrylic crack fillers, the degree of movement in the crack determines how long the product can perform before breaking open or pulling away from one side of the crack. Frequency of moisture, freeze-thaw, and various climate conditions are other factors that play a role in longevity of crack fillers and repair.

Crack filling is a maintenance role. The best way to maintain a tennis court crack is to fill it whenever you see it open. A good rule of thumb is to check the court(s) over in the spring and early fall (when temperatures are not getting below 50°F or 10°C) and perform necessary crack filling to extend the life of the facility. Many sport surfacing contractors also offer maintenance programs, where they make spring and fall visits annually, and advise court owners of needed crack repairs, resurfacing, or other issues.

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Does My Tennis Court Need Acrylic Resurfacer?

Acrylic Resurfacer is a product that is commonly used when resurfacing tennis courts and other sport surfaces. All major manufacturers of acrylic sport surfaces produce this product and recommend using it on both new and existing court surfaces. Even though many installers think of Acrylic Resurfacer as a primer, it serves specific purposes not entirely related to good adhesion.

First of all, Acrylic Resurfacer is a filler coat.  It is designed to suspend large amounts of silica sand for the purpose of filling minor voids in the surface.  Asphalt is a common pavement used for tennis court construction.  Mostly comprised of asphalt binder and rock, asphalt can exhibit a wide variety of porosity from one location to another.  Many factors can influence the pavement porosity, from available regional and local sources of aggregate to project specifications.  Acrylic Resurfacer can fill the surface voids to produce a tight surface without voids and pits that show through the pigmented surface layers.  If the surface voids are not properly filled, they can lead to some of the following problems:

  • Pitting on the playing surface
  • Surface pinholes that are created from air in the voids during application of tennis court color coatings
  • Poor coverage rate on the pigmented surface coatings

Secondly, Acrylic Resurfacer creates or restores texture to the surface prior to application of the colored surface coatings.  Existing acrylic sport surfaces tend to become smooth with years of wear.  The fine silica sand that was in the coating eventually rolls out and the acrylic color surface becomes polished and smooth.  The resurfacer uses an angular sand to create a sandpaper-like texture to better accept the color coating layers.  The colored tennis court surfaces contain a very fine, rounded sand to minimize surface streaking and application marks.  If resurfacer is not applied to create proper texture, the color coating can be applied too thin by the application squeegee.  An example for comparison would be cleaning a glass window with a squeegee.  Since the window is very smooth, the liquid glass cleaner is wiped almost completely off.  If there is no texture on a tennis court, the surface coatings will not be applied in an adequate thickness.  This will minimize film solids and shorten the life of the court surfacing system.

With its heavy body, one or more coats of Acrylic Resurfacer can also be used for shimming rough surface repairs, and hiding patches from depression or crack repairs.  After application, resurfacer dries to a firm, hard film and can be scraped and sanded prior to application of the acrylic color surfacing coats.

Finally, the only situation where Acrylic Resurfacer is not required is when you have an existing acrylic surface with adequate texture.  This occurs when the courts have been properly maintained and resurfaced before the original texture is lost.  Visit SportMaster for a tennis court maintenance manual and for further care instructions on extending the life of the sport surfacing system.